TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Trump administration notifies Congress of intent to negotiate trade agreement with Kenya

Wednesday, 18 March 2020 Published: | Robert Lighthizer

Source: United States Trade Representative

At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today notified Congress that the Trump Administration will negotiate a trade agreement with Kenya.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional trade agreements across Africa. 

Kenya is an important regional leader, a strategic partner of the United States, and a commercial hub that can provide substantial opportunities for U.S. trade and investment,” said Ambassador Lighthizer.

In officially notifying Congress, the U.S. Trade Representative is following the procedures set out in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 – often referred to as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – which requires ongoing consultations with Congress. 

These consultations ensure that USTR develops negotiating positions with the benefit of Congress’ views.  USTR will also publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting the public’s input on the direction, focus and content of the trade negotiations.

In accordance with TPA, the U.S. Trade Representative will publish objectives of the negotiations with Kenya at least 30 days before formal trade negotiations begin.

To read the notification letter sent to Speaker Pelosi, click here.

To read the notification letter sent to Representative McCarthy, click here.

To read the notification letter sent to Senator Schumer, click here.

To read the notification letter sent to Senator Grassley, click here.

Key Trade Statistics

  • Two-way goods trade between the United States and Kenya: $1.1 billion in 2019, up 4.9% from 2018.
     
  • Top U.S. goods exports to Kenya in 2019: aircraft ($59 million), plastics ($58 million), machinery ($41 million), and cereals (wheat) ($27 million).
     
  • Top U.S. imports from Kenya in 2019: apparel ($454 million), edible fruit & nuts (mostly nuts) ($55 million), titanium ores and concentrates ($52 million), and coffee ($34 million).

 

Kenya-United States Factsheet (Source: USTR)

  • Africa is growing rapidly and presents enormous opportunities for U.S. commercial and economic interests.  It is undergoing a transformative change toward greater regional integration, has among the highest growth rates globally, and will account for nearly a fifth of the world’s consumers by 2030.
     
  • Kenya is an important regional leader and strategic partner of the United States.  There is enormous potential for us to deepen our economic and commercial ties.  It is a gateway to East Africa and beyond, and a major commercial hub that can provide substantial opportunities for U.S. consumers, businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers.
     
  • A trade agreement between the United States and Kenya will complement Africa’s regional integration efforts, including the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).  In August 2019, the United States and African Union signed a joint statement concerning the development of the AfCFTA, which reflects our common goal to deepen trade and investment relationships across the continent.  The United States pledges its continued support to help the AfCFTA achieve its fullest potential. 
     
  • In August 2018, President Donald J. Trump and President Uhuru Kenyatta established the U.S.-Kenya Trade and Investment Working Group to explore ways to deepen the trade and investment ties between the two countries and lay the groundwork for a stronger future trade relationship.
     
  • Under the Working Group, the United States and Kenya initially agreed to work together in the following areas:
    • Pursue exploratory talks on a future bilateral trade and investment framework;
    • Maximize the remaining years of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA);
    • Strengthen commercial cooperation; and
    • Develop short-term solutions to reduce barriers to trade and investment.
       
  • The inaugural meeting of the Trade and Investment Working Group was held in April 2019 in Washington and the second meeting was held in November 2019 in Nairobi.

 

Related News

US seeks companies’ views on trade pact with Kenya

US seeks companies’ views on trade pact with Kenya

President Donald Trump’s administration has asked American and Kenyan firms to share their views on the proposed fresh free trade window as it lays grounds for the pact. The call follows last week’s announcement that the two countries have formally begun negotiations on the proposed trade deal, which was mooted when President Uhuru Kenyatta visited the US last...

25 March, 2020
Kenya: 'US cranks up trade deal with Kenya'

Kenya: 'US cranks up trade deal with Kenya'

Kenya's deal with the US for a Free Trade Agreement is taking shape with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notifying Congress officially of a plan that is likely to threaten the unity of the East African Community. In a letter dated March 17, 2020, President Trump through Mr Lighthizer wrote to Nancy Pelosi, US Senate Speaker; Senator Charles Schumer,...

25 March, 2020
Op-Ed: 'As it plans a new free trade deal with the US, Kenya must watch its steps'

Op-Ed: 'As it plans a new free trade deal with the US, Kenya must watch its steps'

In January, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his US counterpart Donald Trump announced their intention of signing a free trade agreement between the two countries. This would be the second such bilateral agreement with an African country, following the 2004 Morocco-US trade agreement. Africa-US trade relationship is covered under the African Growth Opportunity Act...

26 February, 2020
A deal is as good as local content laws that back it

A deal is as good as local content laws that back it

There has been disquiet over the fact that Kenya and the US have initiated talks that should culminate in the signing of an exclusive trade deal between the two, an agreement touted as the model the US will adopt in its trade relations with other African countries after the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) rolled out by President Bill Clinton in 2000 ends in...

22 February, 2020
'A note to Kenya on its trade talks with the US: There is strength in numbers'

'A note to Kenya on its trade talks with the US: There is strength in numbers'

The recent announcement by the US and Kenya that they will initiate negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) has elicited concern within the African trade community. Although the process, road map and end date of these negotiations remain to be worked out, it suffices that we reflect on possible reasons for this initiative, its ramifications on Kenya’s role as a lead...

20 February, 2020